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Malaysia PM scraps billion pound high speed rail link with Singapore

Singapore HSR

The new Malaysian prime minister has cancelled the multi-billion pound international high speed rail link between Malaysia and Singapore.

According to Reuters, Malaysia prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was sworn in earlier this month, has promised to cut national debt and is now reviewing big projects agreed by his predecessor. 

“It is a final decision, but it will take time because we have an agreement with Singapore,” Mohamad said.

The cancellation of the project will be a bitter blow to many engineering companies around the world.

The project had been targeted by the UK government’s new board for exporting British engineering abroad with UK based companies hoping to play a crucial role in its delivery.

Mott MacDonald, WSP and Ernst & Young had been appointed as joint development partners (JDP) for Assetco to design the common systems between the two countries.

In February last year, Aecom was appointed to design the high speed rail line on the Singaporean side. It was also due to be designing the customs, immigration and quarantine facilities with UK architect Farrells.

Civil works consultants were appointed last year and include Jacobs, Aecom and Systra. The role of technical advisor to the Malaysian part of the project (MyHSR) was awarded to CH2M and PwC in July 2016.

According to Reuters, the prime minister said Malaysia may have to pay about 500M ringgit (£94M) to Singapore to get out of the deal.

The 350km line had been due to run between Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur and Singapore’s new Jurong Lake District on the west of the island in 90 minutes. It would have been only the second cross boarder high speed rail line with full customs, immigration and quarantine facilities, in the world.

The project was due to be completed by 2026.

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